How can I Enter Canada with a Criminal Record

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Denied Entry to Canada??

It’s been years since you last saw your children and a couple of months ago you finally had a chance to do so. However, your visitor visa is now coming to an end, you have overstayed your allotted period in the country by a few months, and despite your best efforts you fail to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Aside, from your overstay in Canada you also have criminal record back home making you inadmissible to Canada. There is still a way – though – to continue to live with your family. This can be achieved by successfully applying for a Temporary Resident Permit – a TRP for you criminal inadmissibility and an Authorization to Return to Canada –ARC for you overstay in Canada. This blog will focus on your criminal inadmissibility.

Who needs Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)?

A Temporary Resident Permit allows individuals who have a criminal record to enter the country based on individual circumstances and depending on external risk factors. These records, whether major offences (terrorism) or minor offences (unarmed shoplifting), could cause inadmissibility issues. A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) allows Immigration Officers to issue in exceptional cases (such as those where a person with a criminal record wishes to enter the country for a specific reason) to give the individual entry into Canada and/or the right to stay in Canada as a foreign national during the period of the TRP. Upon expiration of the TRP, the individual must exit Canada. If the length of the TRP is determined to be 6 months or more, the individual may apply for a work permit during the stay as long they meet the requirements set by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Who can Apply for TRP?

As a general guideline, any person who, as determined by an officer, fails to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is eligible for applying and consideration for a TRP. A TRP is different that a Temporary Resident Visa in the sense it allows persons with inadmissibility concerns to enter the country, an example could a person accounted for charges in 2004 now wishes to attend a conferment at a venue situated within Canada. The person will have to obtain a TRP issued by an authorized officer before he/she can stay in Canada. It does not matter how long ago the crime was committed or when the person was convicted of the charge, the offence will stay on the person’s record forever.

Such individuals include:

  • A foreign national whose reason to enter or stay in Canada is compelling (i.e.: a person wants to attend a conference within Canada can be issued a TRP for two weeks)
  • The foreign national’s reason to enter or stay in Canada poses no risk or threat to the lives of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. This is determined by a designated immigration officer.

TRP Exceptions

An exception to issuing TRPs is permitted if less than 12 months have passed since the applicant submitted a claim for refugee protection which was rejected. An officer, however, can dismiss this if he or she sees the TRP as a form of protection for a victim of human trafficking. Should an immigration officer reject a person’s request for a TRP then, generally, only a senior officer can overturn the rule. The issuance of a TRP is determined by weighing the risk factors of the applicant’s entry, such risk factors include health and security concerns. Health concerns may include the risk of spreading a contagious disease. Security concerns deal with crimes such as espionage, subversion (the act/attempt of overthrowing the Government), terrorism or affiliation with groups or memberships that commit such acts.

How to apply for TRP

A Temporary Permanent Resident can be obtained well in advance of travel by submitting your application to the consulate or can be provided for at the border in urgent circumstances. In order to apply for the TRP you need to include important documents such as offences on record, what you have learned from your past, reference letters from friends and family members that can attest you are making better choices. TRP application can be obtained from the government website ( but we highly recommend hiring someone that has experience in submitting these types of applications, because we get calls every day in which applicants that have attempted on their own but were unsuccessful. Most common reason for refusal include not providing the necessary documents to support their application, expired documents, not explaining why they should be granted a TRP, not using the latest government forms and much more.

Do I need to apply for an eTA?

An eTA is a new entry requirement for visa exempt non US nationals travelling to Canada by air only. So if you are US citizen you do not require an eTA, but only individuals that come from visa exempt countries such as Germany, Australia, Netherlands, please see CIC website for complete list. So, if you come from visa exempt country the eTA is the first step to travelling to Canada. The eTA is an Electronic Travel Authorization that can be obtained from the government website. The eTA is electronic device that scans whether or not you have any inadmissibility issues prior to travelling to Canada. If it shows you have criminal record depending on the nature and circumstance of your travel or stay, whether if you plan to stay in Canada or simply transit you may be eligible to apply for TRP. The process of every country could be different; you should consult with the Visa processing department of your country beforehand.

TRP Application FEE

A fee of $200 (in Canadian dollars) must be paid for the application process. This fee is non-refundable even if the application for the permit is rejected. Certain individual wish to stay in Canada for more than the duration of their TRP, this can be legally done if the person obtains a Criminal Rehabilitation; Criminal Rehabilitation takes a significantly longer time to obtain than a TRP, thus individuals are advised, depending on their long term aim, to apply for both documents at the same time. Consult our law firm for a detailed consultation on what the right steps could be for your situation.

The validity of a TRP and your obligations

An officer, depending on the circumstance, might issue a TRP with a minimum duration of 1 day (single entry) and maximum to 3 years (multiple entries). A TRP is no longer valid if the holder leaves Canada without first obtaining authorization to do so; to re-enter Canada the application process would have to begin all over. The length of the TRP is decided by the officer depending on your reason of entry. Subsequently, TRP holders are required to follow these instructions:

  • TRP holders must exit Canada at least one day before expiration of their TRP or upon the cancellation of their TRP by an authorized officer
  • TRP holders must apply for the proper documentation before the expiration of their existing TRP if they wish to maintain their Temporary Residency Status.
  • TRP holders must apply for the appropriate documents through the correct process if they wish to re-enter Canada; this needs to be done if they are a foreign national of a country (with a documented criminal offence) that requires Temporary Resident Visa and have the authorization to re-enter Canada.

Failure to comply with the above rules by an individual could result in the cancellation of their TRPs, an inadmissibility report or a removal order. This could seriously damage you chance of obtaining Permanent Residency within Canada.

Can I Work or Study with TRP?

Having a TRP does not mean a person is eligible to wok or study in Canada; they must still apply for a work or study permit. An officer may consider issuing a work permit if the TRP is 6 months or longer. If a study permit is also issued it is valid for a period of 6 months. The applicant must pay separately from the TRP fee for the work and study permits through the appropriate methods. A university or college acceptance letter is the first step to obtain a study permit with Canada.

What happens once I Submitted my TRP application?

Once an authorized officer has reviewed the applicant’s case and has written the case summary and recommendation letter, the application package will then be sent to a designated decision maker who will then weight out the risk factors associated with the applicant’s entry (through interviews if applicable). In the case of positive outcome, the designated decision maker must also decide the period of validity for the Temporary Resident Permit. Only permit holders who are in Canada can apply for an extension of their stay or apply for a new TRP through the appropriate Government forms. Extensions of the TRP cannot be done by overseas visa offices. If an applicant wishes to re-enter Canada after their formerly issued TRP has expired, then they are required to re-apply for a new Temporary Resident Permit; this can, however, affect the process of your Permanent Residency (if you choose to apply) as a new TRP indicates a break in continuity.

Contact Akrami & Associates

We at Akrami and Associates are glad to help you figure out the correct pathway and the best fitting process for your needs which will help you and your family well into the long run. So if you have an inadmissibility that can range from minor to major offense then contact us today!! Let us determine the best options available to you!!With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!